Bashagha Rejects Changes to Libyan-Italian Friendship Treaty

The Libyan Parliament-designated Prime Minister, Fathi Bashagha
The Libyan Parliament-designated Prime Minister, Fathi Bashagha

On Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Libyan Parliament-designated government, headed by Fathi Bashagha, announced its “complete rejection to change some items in the Libyan-Italian Treaty of Friendship, Partnership, and Cooperation. Especially with regards to the implementation of the Coastal Highway from Amsaad to Ras Ajdir.”

In a statement, the ministry said that it has learned about “the outgoing Government of National Unity’s (GNU) talk to change some provisions of the ratified Libyan-Italian Treaty of Friendship, Partnership, and Cooperation.”

The Ministry stressed that the treaty is based on “Italy’s recognition of the colonial era and its regret for it. These cannot be changed as it has become legally binding on both parties in the same form in which it was signed and ratified.”

In addition, it affirmed that the ‘Great Initiative’ highway project was “carefully studied by specialized companies, and conforms to all international technical specifications and standards. Accordingly, we categorically reject any attempts seek to change it in order to politicize the project, with the aim of buying loyalties and political alignments.

“We remind the Italian government of the good relationship between the two countries. We also reject the GNU’s unclear approach in order to create new political formulas that violate national and international conventions and norms,” the statement concluded.

Notably, On 30 August 2008, after a lengthy negotiating process that began under several Italian governments, the agreement was signed by Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

The treaty entered into force on 02 March 2009, when ratifications were exchanged during Berlusconi’s visit to Libya.

Under the terms of the agreement, Italian investments worth €5 billion euros in Libyan infrastructure were planned as compensation for the colonial period. The main construction contracts went to Italian companies, under this agreement.